This year, a project from one of our Y11 pupils was selected from thousands of applications to participate in both The Big Bang Competition and BT Young Scientist. Her project was inspired by seeing facemasks being worn incorrectly and she was interested to find out what the major issues were in wearing them. Her project ‘Improved Face-Mask Design and Materials for a COVID-19 World’ aimed to find the best possible combination of mask materials that would be comfortable to wear, while still being safe. Due to Covid restrictions, she had to develop her own apparatus and built a sneeze and cough simulator and apparatus to test the breathability of materials. She then proposed a three-layer mask made from cotton and nylon. However, after evaluating her own results and analysing a German study, she concluded that all woven materials let virus-sized particles through. She then designed a mask insert made from vinyl acetate which costs just pennies to produce. This could be manufactured inside the fabric layers of masks, which would make them more comfortable to wear.
UK Competition Winner
UK Science Competition Winner
UK Competition Winner
Due to Covid, BT Young Scientist took place online for the first time in fifty-six years, and our pupil’s project was one of 250 to be selected from a pool of over 3000 applicants, all across Ireland. She was interviewed by BBC Radio Ulster and the Irish times for her project.
Following this, the project was developed further and entered The Big Bang Science fair, the biggest science competition in the UK, which was also digital this year. Her project was placed in the UK top five, and she had rigorous interviews with judges including GlaxoSmithKline vice president, Dr Karen Mullen and Science Communicator, Marty Jopson. She was pleased to win the ‘Stantec Developing Communities Award’ as well as placing second in her overall category. This gave her the opportunity to be interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Women’s Hour’, which was an amazing experience.
She would like to thank the science department, with a special mention to Mrs Reid, for all their support and encouragement throughout the process.